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U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court to Consider State Secrets in Contract Dispute Over Avenger Plane

Posted Sep 28, 2010 9:49 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the federal government violated the Constitution by asserting a state secrets privilege in two disputes involving government contractors.

The two companies, the Boeing Co. and General Dynamics Corp, argue the government’s position prevented them from defending themselves in a contract dispute with the Pentagon over the A-12 Avenger attack plane, the Associated Press reports.

According to SCOTUSblog, the defense contractor controversy is a major one, but “it is not the fight over ‘state secrets’ that has drawn the most headlines in recent years; that fight is about using the doctrine to stop lawsuits by former detainees claiming torture and illegal detention.”

SCOTUSblog notes another pending cert petition involving the government’s claim of state secrets. It involves a suit claiming the government spied on lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees.

The two cases granted cert today are General Dynamics Corp. v. United States and Boeing Co. v. United States.

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